An extreme feeling of fear and exclusion caused by proximity to a popular fast-food chicken restaurant: That definition seems to fit the reaction of some University of Kansas faculty members to the school’s recent renewal of its contract with Chick-fil-A. Members of the university’s Sexuality and Gender Diversity Faculty Staff Council wrote to Chancellor Douglas Girod expressing outrage at the fast-food restaurant’s presence on the campus in Lawrence, arguing it “violates the feelings of safety and inclusion that so many of us have striven to create, foster, and protect.” They call Chick-fil-A a “bastion of bigotry.”
Critics have labeled the company discriminatory and “homophobic” because it contributed to Christian organizations like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army through its charitable foundation.
Others point to CEO Dan Cathy’s support for Biblical marriage. In 2012, he said that the United States was “inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and we say we know better than you what constitutes a marriage.”
In the KU student union, however, students continue to line up for chicken. This year, Chick-fil-A enjoyed its fifth year as the nation’s top fast-food restaurant, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. —S.W.